Flag-raising ceremony in Dorchester will mark Merchant Navy Day

FRIDAY (September 1) will see Merchant Navy veterans honoured with a special ceremony.

Dorset Council will remember veterans with a special flag-raising ceremony at County Hall, Dorchester, at 10am.

Merchant Navy Day – which falls on September 3 – acknowledges the brave men and women of the service, who in both World Wars kept the nation afloat, and in peacetime continue to face the routine perils of violent storms and mountainous seas.

The event will be hosted by Cllr Val Pothecary and attended by Mr Angus Campbell, Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, Colin Weston MBE JP, High Sheriff of Dorset, Cllr Spencer Flower, leader of Dorset Council, as well as Royal Naval Association Members and Weymouth Sea Cadets.

Rev John Yarrien will open the ceremony with prayer followed by speeches by the chair of Dorset Council, The HM Lord-Lieutenant and Paul Knapp, from the Merchant Navy Association.

Members of the public are invited to attend and refreshments will be served after the flag raising ceremony.

Cllr Pothecary said: “On this special day, we remember the sacrifices, salute the courage, and support the future of the often-unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy, and we raise The Red Ensign Flag to raise awareness of our island nation’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy Seafarers.

“Our sailors have been crucial in times of war; keeping supply lines open during two World Wars and reaching far-flung areas of the world like the Falklands to defend our citizens.

“More recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government rightly recognised those working in the Merchant Navy as key workers; a reflection of the vital role they played during the crisis.

“Today, there are around 80,000 men and women working at sea. They continue to bring in over 90% of our imports. We owe them our deep respect and gratitude.”

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